Driving Transactions
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

GVL&TOA President Edison Kahakauwila GVL&TOA President Edison Kahakauwila of L.A. Limousines Victoria, British Columbia — While the Greater Victoria Limousine and Tour Operators Association (GVL&TOA) became a formalized group in February, the association has gone through an array of identities and focused on numerous industry issues since it began meeting in 2002.

As the British Columbia Livery Association, the organization’s original focus was on combating the provincial government’s deregulation of the entire transportation sector. The association’s previous incarnations were largely successful in their mission, according to GVL&TOA President Edison Kahakauwila of L.A. Limousines, who also spearheaded the earlier associations, which wound down in 2006.

In the time since, both the Greater Victoria area’s and the transportation industry’s issues have changed, and the newly formalized GVL&TOA aims to continue addressing the concerns it’s been tackling as an informal group since 2008—with both a ground transportation company’s and tour operator’s needs in mind.

“This new association is more focused on today’s issues, where local governance is of greater concern and now encompasses a broader role in the transportation services industry,” Kahakauwila said. “Another role of the association will be assisting in directing profit centers to our members by actively being involved in big-picture environments like the cruise line, conference, and airport industries. With a majority of operators being small, membership will give them a real sense of involvement that will ultimately improve the product and services provided.”

Currently representing 12 companies and with others expressing interest in joining the association, GVL&TOA represents the varied mix of owner/operators, tour operators, and full transportation companies serving the Greater Victoria region.

“When I went through the process of creating this association, I looked at our diverse reality,” Kahakauwila said. “The “limousine” part represents the fundamental basis of one segment of the tour industry. The other part was tour operators, and a lot of tour operators are ground-transportation-based—in fact, a majority of them are. So it was important to get that in there so the people who are in the industry part-time were still recognized as being involved in the greater industry.”

By becoming a formalized group, Kahakauwila hopes that GVL&TOA can be an instrument of education for industry operators and regulators alike.

“If you deal with an association, you’re talking to maybe two people who represent a group’s best interest. But if you’re dealing with lots of independent people, you suddenly have 15 or 20 people who don’t understand how you’re trying to help them,” he said. “If I’m talking for a group, I can make sure that the key commonality is education: educating those who legislate us, educating people in the business, educating the people who are running our cars. That way, they understand what we’re doing and why these rules exist.”